She was an only child, and both her parents had already passed from this life. Her husband was unemployed and she was struggling to take care of her year-and-a-half-old daughter. A number of her husband’s relatives expressed disdain when they learned she was pregnant.
But then there was her mother-in-law — an immigrant with limited ability to speak English. However, she made her feelings intensely clear. Upon learning of my mother’s unexpected pregnancy, she took out a bottle of wine, raised a glass, and in her heavy Italian accent said, “Anne, I salute you.”
She was the one person who supported my mother’s pregnancy — a pregnancy which resulted in a premature five-pound baby girl — the girl who became the sister I so loved.
While at times she might have felt very much on her own, my mother was not alone. Her mother-in-law, father-in-law, foster-mother, and husband all helped in the child care responsibilities — enthusiastically so. She had a solid support network, despite some naysayers. And she proved herself highly capable of the task of raising two little girls.
According to researcher Dr. David Reardon, of those women who experience difficulties after their abortions, more than 80 percent report they would have brought their babies into the world if the circumstances had been better or if loved ones had shown support.
That means the vast majority of women who regret their abortions were craving help and understanding from those closest to them, but did not receive the assistance they longed for.
The pro-life movement is essentially a pro-support movement. I have known so many parents who have selflessly come to their daughters’ aid when they were facing unexpected pregnancies. I also know many women who have benefited from the pregnancy support centers which offer not only counseling but material assistance to pregnant women (For the nearest pregnancy center in Pennsylvania, call 1-888-Life-Aid or visit www.paprolife.org/pregnancy-centers-in-pa).
The importance of these gestures of love cannot be underestimated. For they can provide the bridge to a better future for these women and children. In fact, the outstretched hand can rescue a woman from the brink of despair, and save a child from death at the hands of an abortionist.
Or, raised in a toast, it can simply give a woman the courage to go on and fight for her child.